Recent Posts

27 August 2019

Save the Date! Family History Library research trip planned for 2020


Photo by Daniel Spelce, 2014
Yes, there will be a CGS research trip in 2020!

Our own Lisa S. Gorrell, CG, will once again be the leader for this trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, scheduled for May 24 through May 31, 2020. (May 25 is Memorial Day, but the library will be open.) This may be of special interest to those who are attending the National Genealogical Society's conference the previous week (May 20-23).

Three hotels are accepting room registrations for the NGS conference now and they fill up fast. The official conference hotels are Hilton Salt Lake City, Radisson Hotel SLC Downtown, and Salt Lake Plaza Hotel at Temple Square. If you think you might like to attend the NGS conference and stay through with us to research afterwards, you can book your conference hotel room now to stay until May 24. Then when you register for the CGS trip, you can move into the Plaza Hotel. The link for registering at NGS Conference hotels is here.

Of course, you can stay anywhere you like during the conference (even an AirBnB). When registration opens up for the CGS research trip, do let Lisa know whether you’ll be there for the NGS Conference, too. Stay tuned for updates later this year!

Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

22 August 2019

The Merger of NGS and FGS

Announcement on the NGS web page, August 21

Breaking news: The Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Genealogical Society have just announced their agreement to merge and to host a single, annual joint conference beginning in 2021.

Genealogist Amy Johnson Crow has put out a podcast and blog post in which she shares her thoughts on what the merger might mean for genealogical societies. As she points out, FGS and NGS have distinct missions: "NGS’s main mission is to promote genealogy scholarship and education—helping genealogists do better research. FGS’s main mission, on the other hand, is to help genealogy societies be better societies. Those missions complement each other, but they are not the same."

Read Amy's blog post or listen to the podcast HERE.


Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

21 August 2019

Our Library Collections: Virginia

William Wirt:  could this be the person my great uncle was
named after?
One in a series by CGS member Chris Pattillo highlighting some of our holdings at the Library in Oakland.  For a fuller listing of books, journals, and more, consult the CGS Library catalog in WorldCat.

At long last I’ve finally gotten to Virginia where my Pattillo ancestors are from. Fortunately for me and others with Virginia ancestors this is one of the largest sets of books in our library, occupying twenty-three shelves in section F221-235. I should also note that it is preceded by F206 and F209 that cover southern genealogy in general and section F213 that has books about southern plantations.
The collection starts with a small number of books about Virginia counties. These are books that cover multiple counties. As in other states our books on specific counties follow the books on statewide topics.

We have both volumes of Virginia Historical Index by E.G. Swem.  One of the cover pages notes that 425 copies were printed and we own set No. 195. These caught my eye because during one of my two visits to the State Library of Virginia I was startled to encounter our own Lavinia Schwarz in the library. At that time she emphatically insisted that I make time to visit the Swem library while I was in Virginia, so I know this is a good source. These books are an extensive index to articles that appear in other periodicals. Page 400 lists several Pattillos including twelve citations for James Pattillo. I have seventeen James Pattillos in my database so possibly some have made it into these journals.

There are three large collections of genealogy magazines for Virginia. The Virginia Genealogist starts in 1957 and continues to the current edition. We have the Virginia Magazine from 1941 to 1972 - the October 1972 issue of the Virginia Magazine begins with an article about William Wirt, described as “friend and confidante of four presidents. As a lawyer, he ranked with the best in the nation, appearing in many of the landmark cases before the Supreme Court … Identified by one legal historian as the “most beloved of American advocates …” My great-grandparents named their first born Wirt W. Pattillo in 1880 – an unusual name that I’ve found nowhere else in the family. Is it possible they named this son after the statesman?
Our stacks hold eight volumes of Cavaliers and
Pioneers for the state of Virginia

We have eight volumes of Cavaliers and Pioneers Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants by Nell Marion Nugent. This is a compilation of land ownership in Virginia beginning in 1607. Each entry provides a synopsis of land patents that were granted in a rather charming style. As an example, “Thomas Sully, of the Neck of Land in the Corp. of James City, Yeoman & old planter, 6 acs. Aug 14, 1624 p. 12. Within the island of James City E. upon Blockhouse field cleared in the time of the government of Sir Thomas Gates, extending towards the new blockhouse lately built. Part of the first dividend for his personal adventure.”

For those with Scotch-Irish ancestors we have three volumes of Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia by Lyman Chalkley, published in 1989.



Many of our books are devoted to specific counties, including Mecklenburg County, where my ancestors lived for four generations. We have six books on Mecklenburg including Early Settlers, Mecklenburg County, Virginia compiled by Katherine B. Elliott, a very prolific genealogy researcher and writer.
A book for those with Scotch-Irish ancestors

Next time you visit the library, check our Virginia books – no telling what you might find.

Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

16 August 2019

Our Library Collections: Vermont

Families of Cavendish focuses on
Windsor County, Vermont
One in a series by CGS member Chris Pattillo highlighting some of our holdings at the Library in Oakland.  For a fuller listing of books, journals, and more, consult the CGS Library catalog in WorldCat.

 Our Vermont books occupy five and a half shelves in the library. Most of the space is occupied by the bulletin of the Genealogical Society of Vermont, Branches & Twigs. Our copies cover the period of 1982 to 1995. We also have the Index to Branches and Twigs for 1972-1995, donated by Kathy Beals in 2000. Our set of the journal Vermont Genealogy begins in January 1996 and continues to the current issue.

We have three different state gazetteers for Vermont and at least three gazetteers for counties. There are two thick volumes of Genealogical and Family History of the State of Vermont by Hiram Carleton, each volume filled with more than 700 pages of dense information.

Photos of the Adams family
One of our county books is Volume 3 of Families of Cavendish: The Early Settlers of the Black River Valley in Windsor County, Vermont, compiled by Linda Margaret Farr Welch. This book covers the Adams, Blood, Burbank, French, Gammon, and Giddings families. The chapter on the Adams family includes a detailed family tree, short biographies, copies of the wills of Henry Adams, Samuel Adams, and Daniel Adams, and one page of portraits.

The History of Wallingford, Vermont by Walter Thorpe covers different periods of history and settlers, churches, libraries, industries, town war records, politics and more. It includes a nice variety of photographs and sketches.
A sketch from History of Wallingford


Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

12 August 2019

For Members: Trolley Tour of Cypress Lawn, September 11


For members, here is a chance to visit one of Colma's largest and most scenic historic cemeteries, all while riding on a vintage trolley! A great way to see much of this large and beautiful cemetery. This is a CGS members-only event. The tour is geared to genealogists, and is limited to 24 participants--register soon! Details at EventBrite.




Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society